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Black Bean Nachos with South of the Border Seitan

Apart from celebrating my husband Toby’s birthday, which was incredibly chilled out and fun, I had a pretty clunky week. If you haven’t read my About Me page, it has to be said that I did not win the Lottery when it comes to having normal family members (a few of us are cool, but we are outnumbered). Arguably, anyone can say this about their family. While this may be true, there are those days when I feel incredibly alone in the midst of my family’s dysfunction. It’s not almost comical. It is comical. How I wish that I could be like some food bloggers who take pictures of their children riding horses on the range (sigh), cooking beautiful meals step by step, then sitting down for supper with loving, supportive parents that cheer them on better than the cast of Glee. It ain’t me babe.  Taking this into consideration, I have built an arsenal of peaceful weaponry. When I am faced with my badass nemesis, Negativity, I bring out the big guns: My Buddhist paractice, ashtanga yoga four times a week (contemplating five), support from dear friends, the love from my husband Toby, his family, my son Jake, and [...]

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Ratatouille Southern Style

A few years back, the kid’s blockbuster, “Ratatouille” hit the theatres worldwide. A huge promotion machine ensued, with film crews planted outside of theatres, asking the question, “can you pronounce the word ratatouille? Answers came flying in, and they tickled me to no end. Here are some of my favourites: “Erm, rata-ta-toil?,” or, “Oh heck, it’s about a rat, Rat-Ta-Tat-Tat!” My favorite, and closest, was a gentlemen that enthusiastically bellowed “Rat-tat-woooeeeeeee!!” as if he had slipped on a banana peel. Before we mentally meander on to how so many could not pronounce the word, it behooves us all to move on to the recipe. Oui!! This recipe has all of the elements of a classic ratatouille, with a southern twist. I have added sweet potato instead of white, brown muscovado sugar for an earthy sweetness, red pepper flakes for a kick, and a pinch of cinnamon for gentle flavor and aroma. This dish is wonderful served with my Spiced Couscous. If there are any leftovers the next day (good luck), you can also eat the ratatouille with sliced baguette, sopping up all the delicious juices. Ratatouille Southern Style 1 medium eggplant (aubergine) diced 1 cup carrots diced 1 sweet potato [...]

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Linguine with Artichoke Hearts, Garlic, and Red Chili

As corny this sounds, I did a “Things that make you go Mmmmm” dance by the stove as I took a bite of this dish today. I’m talking a symphony of flavor in every mouthful. This is going to be my one of my new go-to recipes when I’m at a push for time. Twenty minutes to heaven ladies and gentlemen. Although this could be considered a light and summery dish, it’s a winner that I’ll be making all year ‘round.  The extra virgin olive oil in the sauce takes center stage in all of its fruity glory. It absolutely sings on your tongue. If you have a phobia of chilli, do not fret. By deseeding the chilli, you are taking away the powerful punch, and left with a mellow, warming bite. We had it for dinner this evening, and to be honest, I was more worried about what Jake would think of the artichokes. To my surprise, he gobbled up his dinner up in a heartbeat, then asked for more. Toby finished his meal and said,” it’s so good that it doesn’t need the artichokes!” Not exactly the response I was hoping for, but I still appreciate the enthusiasm. [...]

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Vegetable Chow Mein

Stir-fried, chow mein noodles are a huge hit with our son Jake. So much so, that they are on the regular rotation of weekly menu planning  (organizing ahead saves us beaucoup bucks). I know I can’t be alone in struggling to find healthy meals that appeal to our children’s taste buds. It can take some strength to stay calm when you cook a lovely meal, then your child turns their nose up to it. All I can say is hoo-wee, deep breaths all around.  Jake is a bit of a crafty character at the dinner table, so meal times are on and off like a light switch. When Jake is on, he’s on in a big way, clearing his plate until it shines, but when he’s off, all systems are down baby. My husband Toby goes into his well-crafted routine (in a friendly, yet mildly exasperated tone), “Jake, look at this beautiful food Mother has made for us. We are so lucky that she cooks such nice meals. Come on honey, please, eat your food.” Now I agree with you: This is T.M.I. in a big way for a 3 year old. What is really going on here: As much as [...]

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Spiced Carrot Cake

My mission this week was to share a carrot cake recipe from my collection of cookbooks. As your culinary consultant (we are so high end, non?), my aim was to edit out the good from the bad. With a smug attitude, I tried a few recipes, assuming the end results would be bombastic. In the end, I walked away from each thinking I should have put my foot in it. The recipes seriously needed the Karate Kid to come by and drop kick in some flavor. As a compassionate cook, I will fiercely guard the anonymity of the authors, because shoot, some of their recipes kick major bootie. Just so we are on the same page, I am one of you. I have not forgotten what it is like to slice into a hot buttermilk biscuit, slam on a pat of butter, then wait for that butta to melt. To lead you down the garden path of vegetarian bliss, then have you gnawing off your fingers after dessert would be a crime. Indeed, we are not trapped in a deep ravine near Mount Everest, so we should act accordingly. Over the years, I have noticed that “conscious” recipes ask your taste [...]

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